I am not impressed with the 60 or so “medics” who have signed a letter in today’s Independent titled: “No one voted for the NHS to be privatised”. They are a motley crew of Labour activists, ridiculous luvvies and retired busy bodies. The real doctors who have signed the letter risk their reputations on such a nakedly political attack.
Just take the title for starters. No-one is privatising the NHS. Do the signatories of this letter suggest that we nationalise factories, power stations, mines and steelworks so that their scalpels can be produced entirely in the public sector? The health sector in the UK is now 10% of GDP. One tenth of ALL economic activity. There is always going to be a mix of providers and we really need to get the most efficient mix and not be doctrinaire about who provides what.
The “doctors” claiming that no-one voted for healthcare reform clearly did not read the Coalition party manifestos. The Tories said:
Give patients more choice
We understand the pressures the NHS faces, so we will increase health spending in real terms every year. But on its own this will not be enough to deliver the rising standards of care that people expect. We need to allow patients to choose the best care available, giving healthcare providers the incentives they need to drive up quality.
So we will give every patient the power to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards, within NHS prices. This includes independent, voluntary and community sector providers. We will make patients’ choices meaningful by:
- putting patients in charge of making decisions about their care, including control of their health records;
- spreading the use of the NHS tariff, so funding follows patients’ choices; and,
- making sure good performance is rewarded by implementing a payment by results system, improving quality.
We will strengthen the power of GPs as patients’ expert guides through the health system by:
- giving them the power to hold patients’ budgets and commission care on their behalf;
- linking their pay to the quality of their results; and,
- putting them in charge of commissioning local health services.
GP commissioning is there in black and white.
The LibDems approach was slightly different but implied equally radical change and the idea of any willing provider which was also in Labour’s own plans.
- Empowering local communities to improve health services through elected Local Health Boards, which will take over the role of Primary Care Trust boards in commissioning care for local people, working in co-operation with local councils. Over time, Local Health Boards should be able to take on greater responsibility for revenue and resources to allow local people to fund local services which need extra money.
- Giving Local Health Boards the freedom to commission services for local people from a range of different types of provider, including for example staff co-operatives, on the basis of a level playing field in any competitive tendering – ending any current bias in favour of private providers.
The language of privatisation which these ill-advised medics are indulging in is Socialist clap trap, language that even the Labour party did not use when it was in power. Furthermore, the idea that people didn’t vote for change in the NHS is unsustainable.
Some of the signatories are:
Carl Barat – musician with no medical experience
Russell Brand – potty-mouthed comedian with no medical experience
Dr Chris Burns-Cox – Labour supporting retired doctor
Julie Christie – lefty actress with no experience of medicine
Dr Amy Ford – Manchester law academic with no experience of medicine
Sadie Frost – actress and stuff and Hampstead Labour luvvie with no medical experience
Dr Katy Gardener – academic, social anthorpologist, member of Socialist Health Association with no medical experience
Ken Loach – left wing film maker with no medical experience
Caroline Lucas MP – Green party MP with no medical experience
David Morrissey – Labour supporting actor with no medical experience
Tony Robinson – Labour Luvvie actor/comedian/presenter with no medical experience, Labour party member and one-time NEC member
Dr Alex Scott-Samuel – academic who is active in Keeping Our NHS Public campaign group with no medical experience
Will Self – left wing writer with no medical experience
Dr Nigel Speight – retired doctor
Dr Norman Traub – Southend NHS Activist, retired doctor and serial letter/petition signer
Professor Cathy Warwick, General Secretary, Royal College of Midwives – union leader
Dr Tony Waterston – stood as Green party candidate in local elections Newcastle 2010
Dame Vivienne Westwood – self-promoter and dressmaker with no medical experience
Dr Patrick Zentler-Munro – retired letter/petition signer
Dr Pam Zinkin – retired doctor who spends her time signing petitions, including Islington Labour ones, she turned up to her first ever BMA meeting to vote against the NHS bill carrying Nye Bevan’s book ‘In Place of Fear’
Two GPs from the same Liverpool practice signed. I am sure they are OK GPs but they are only two NHS workers at the end of the day, highly paid £150K workers, but just foot soldiers!